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Jason Emerson

Stories by Jason

Village looking for public input to improve usage of Lincklaen Street pay parking lot

It has been nearly one year since the opening of the “Peggy’s Lot,” the paid public parking lot next to the post office on Lincklaen Street, and usage of the lot has not been as robust as the village board had hoped. In an effort to address this issue of the parking lot’s under-utilization, the village board is seeking public input on ways the village can improve the lot’s attractiveness for parking.

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Thousands turn out for 2014 Madison County Open Farm Day

More than 5,000 people spent the day on the farm last Saturday, July 26, for the seventh annual Madison County Open Farm Day event. Farmers from all corners of the county, offering everything from beef to bison, from honey to mushrooms, from fruits to vegetables and everything in between, opened their farms for the day to allow the general public to come and see exactly where their food comes from and what it takes to make it available.

Town board working on four proposed laws, joint sewer district consolidation agreement

The Cazenovia Town Board last week moved forward on four proposed local laws and the proposed joint sewer district consolidation agreement by holding three public hearings, introducing one new law and setting five more public hearings to occur between now and Sept. 8.

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Cazenovia will have a hotel and conference center

Planning board approves proposed hotel site plan for Village Edge South on Route 20

Cazenovia will have a four-story, 82-room hotel and conference center located in the Village Edge South area on Route 20 across from the Town and Country plaza — the result of last week’s unanimous approval by the Village Planning Board of the subdivision, site plan, architecture and special permit application of Cazenovia Hospitality LLC.

School board approves annual appointments

New superintendent presides over first meeting at head of Cazenovia district

The Cazenovia Board of Education held its annual organizational meeting last week, during which it made its yearly appointments and authorizations for the upcoming school year. New district Superintendent Matt Reilly, who officially took over as head of the district on July 1, presided over the meeting and said he has had an excellent and welcoming beginning to his new position.

Fenner town board clarifies: It opposes Clean Water Act resolution verbiage, not clean water

The Fenner Town Board has received a lot of community feedback and concern during the past month about its June resolution to oppose New York state’s Clean Water Act Resolution, with many residents asking board members why they oppose clean water, Town Supervisor Dave Jones said during the board’s July 10 regular monthly meeting.

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Keeping it local: Cazenovia entrepreneur raising funds to grow local necktie business

For men, wearing a handsome — and unique — necktie can garner attention, start conversations and make a lasting first impression. TieBros, an online retailer of premium pre-tied neckties with some of the world’s most refined knots, not only wants to help men “stay classy,” the founders also want to keep the business and the funding 100 percent in America — and they are currently in the middle of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign to help them remain headquartered in North Syracuse.

Mann, Joseph swap commission assignments in annual village board reorganization

Trustees Amy Mann and Jim Joseph have swapped their commissioner assignments in the village board’s latest annual board organization, with Mann transitioning from police commissioner to village works commissioner, and Joseph leaving village works to become police commissioner.

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Brewster Inn tentative expansion plans presented at latest Western Gateway public hearing

At the second public hearing in seven days concerning the village’s proposed rezoning of Ledyard Avenue into a “Western Gateway” development district, Brewster Inn owner Richard Hubbard offered some new information into the discussion by having his architect present a brief slideshow of the tentative Brewster Inn expansion plans. Hubbard’s plan is to purchase the houses at 8 and 10 Ledyard Ave. — formerly a single-property house and carriage barn — directly next door to the Brewster Inn at 6 Ledyard Ave., and create a new Brewster Inn overnight wedding and dining venue.

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Tornado in Smithfield kills four, Gov. Cuomo visits the scene

The National Weather Service confirmed Wednesday morning that the storm that killed four people in Smithfield Tuesday night was a tornado. The round of severe storms that hit Madison County Tuesday evening caused widespread damage in the towns of Smithfield, Sullivan and Lenox. Hardest hit was Goff Road and Northrup Road in Smithfield, where the tornado came through, completely destroying four residential structures, damaging three residential structures and completely destroying one barn, Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley said during a press conference Wednesday morning.

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Cazenovia H&R Block named one of top 100 franchise branches in U.S.

The Cazenovia branch of H&R Block was recently named one of the top 100 H&R Block franchises out of 4,500 in the United States. The recognition was given for having some of the highest client satisfaction and business growth numbers in the company.

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Cazenovia weed harvester takes to the lake

For the past two weeks, Cazenovia residents and visitors may have seen a strange-looking boat out on Cazenovia Lake — like a diminutive paddleboat with a treadmill in the front, and often covered with weeds. This is the town of Cazenovia’s newly purchased weed harvester, and it has been working to divest the lake of milfoil since late June.

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Happy ending: wheelchair-bound boys allowed to join July 4 Foot Races after initial denial

Syracuse Chargers Track Club reverses controversial decision amid public outrage, national media exposure

The news broke early Wednesday morning, July 2, that the Syracuse Chargers Track Club had denied the request of 12-year-old twin boys, Jack and Nolan Willis of Manlius, who have muscular dystrophy and are wheelchair-bound, from participating in the annual Cazenovia July 4 Foot Races 10-mile race. After nearly 36 hours of public outrage and national media attention, the Chargers board reversed its decision and announced that the Willis brothers would be allowed to participate after all.

Ledyard Avenue neighbors continue to oppose Western Gateway proposal

After three public meetings and three proposal drafts, Ledyard Avenue residents remain opposed to the proposed new law that would change the zoning on their street — what is being called the “Western Gateway district” — to allow for more and varied building uses in the area. Continuing to question not only the reason, but also the motivations, behind the proposal, project opponents filled the village board meeting room last week to continue to press for the withdrawal of the law, or, at the very least, significant revisions, clarifications and changes to the proposed language.

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Brian Tait funeral directing license suspended for six months

State health department takes action 18 months after Tait pleads guilty to two misdemeanor charges

Tait Funeral Home director Brian Tait has had his license to practice funeral directing suspended for six months by the state health department, the result of his 2012 guilty pleas to two misdemeanors stemming from his arrest for subjecting a number of his female employees to inappropriate physical exams.

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Willis brothers will be allowed to participate in Cazenovia July 4 Foot Races

Syracuse Chargers reverse course on previous denial of wheelchair-bound boys request to participate

A solution has been found to the quell the recent brouhaha over the Syracuse Chargers Track Club's denial of the request of 12-year-old twin boys, Jack and Nolan Willis of Manlius, who have muscular dystrophy and are wheelchair-bound, from participating in the annual Cazenovia July 4 Foot Races 10-mile race tomorrow. After nearly 36 hours of outrage and criticism directed against the club for its decision, the Chargers board announced that the Willis brothers will be allowed to participate in the race.

Zoning board moves Owera code enforcement appeal hearing to July 28

It will be another three weeks before the town Zoning Board of Appeals considers the appeal of Owera Vineyards over a decision by the town codes enforcement officer denying Owera’s plans for a June 10 event. The delay in the case — originally heard by the board on June 23 — was decided after the CEO’s attorney filed a motion for the ZBA to dismiss the appeal altogether as “untimely,” claiming that Owera had missed the 60-day appeal deadline as required by law.

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Goodbye, Mr. Dubik – a look back at superintendent’s 38-year career in education

In his 14 years in the Cazenovia Central School District — 10 of those as superintendent — Bob Dubik has achieved many successes, made institutional changes, passed 10 budgets, attended at least one event for every school sport and extracurricular activity offered and been a constant and visible participant in community organizations and events. “I’m a proud father,” Dubik said after ticking off the numerous accomplishments of Cazenovia students he has fostered and witnessed since he became superintendent in 2004. “I’m proud of everything, not just one thing that we’ve accomplished. … Certainly there are things I will miss, especially the kids — seeing them every day, getting hugs, cards, well-wishes from parents, the thank yous and appreciation from community members.” Last Saturday’s commencement ceremonies for the Cazenovia High School Class of 2014 were, in fact, Dubik’s last as superintendent. He retired on June 30, after a career of more than 30 years in education.

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Graduation: Cazenovia High School Class of 2014 crosses the stage

It was a sunny, 80-degree day in Cazenovia last Saturday, June 28, as the Cazenovia High School Class of 2014 celebrated its commencement on the green outside the Cazenovia Middle School. Hundreds of white folding chairs were packed with family, friends, teachers and district staff as the 132 candidates for graduation, dressed in their blue and white robes, each holding a yellow rose, received their awards, scholarships, general accolades and, of course, their high school diplomas.

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Lions Club adds more, louder shells to Fourth of July fireworks show

The 2014 Fourth of July Fireworks over Cazenovia Lake will be the largest, loudest, most impressive show the Cazenovia Lions Club has ever sponsored — and the club is excited to show off the results to the community.

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Brewster Inn offers new, farm-fresh menu

The Brewster Inn on Ledyard Avenue is known for its elegant cuisine and farm-fresh menu items, but owner Richard Hubbard has been taking actions in recent months that he hopes will enhance his restaurant’s already impressive reputation. To do this, he has recently unveiled a brand new menu, one that includes 20 new items, offered in half-size as well as full-size portions, and all farm fresh from Cazenovia as well as from some of the highest quality farms and purveyors around the world.

Police chief warns Cazenovia residents to beware of new phone scam

A new phone scam has been reported by multiple village residents recently, and Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes urges residents to be aware of the attempted fraud. The scam involves a call from someone who claims to be an attorney or police official who claims that the receiver’s relative has been arrested in Europe and needs money for bail.

Lions Club honors 2013-14 students of the month

The Cazenovia Lions Club last week honored its 10 students of the month for the 2013-14 school year at its 12th annual end of the year dinner at Cazenovia College, which featured a presentation by world-renowned musician Samite Mulondo, founder of Musicians for World Harmony.

Google Virtual Area Guide of Cazenovia now live online

People across the United States — and even the world — who may be curious about Cazenovia and wonder what the community looks like now can walk the streets in a virtual tour through the Google Sidewalk View / Virtual Area Guide of Cazenovia.

Approved: Residents pass public referendum on fire department retirement benefits

Two trustees, village justice also win reelection

Starting in 2015, members of the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department will begin accruing retirement benefits, sponsored by the village, in the amount of $700 per firefighter for each year of service completed. This proposed Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) was overwhelmingly passed as a public referendum by a vote of 108 to 14approved by village voters during the June 17 village election. Also victorious on June 17, Trustees David Porter and Jim Joseph and Village Justice Timothy Moore won reelection to their respective positions. All three ran unopposed.

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School board approves new director of special education, high school principal

With Cazenovia’s 2013-14 school year just days from ending, a new district director of special education and a new high school principal have been selected for the 2014-15 school year. Terry Ward and Eric Knuth were unanimously appointed by the Cazenovia Board of Education during its June 16 regular monthly meeting.

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Local World War II veteran recalls D-Day bombing runs

Seventy years after Allied forces created the largest armada ever assembled to accomplish the greatest seaborn invasion in history, 96-year-old Cazenovia veteran, Fred Taylor, can recall flying his B-17 bomber during the D-Day invasion of Normandy as if it were only yesterday. “There were so many planes in the air it looked like Broadway,” Taylor said. “We bombed ahead of the troops. We flew at 12,000 feet — low altitude for heavy bombers. We could see the men down there. The English Channel looked like Broadway and Times Square with all the ships and transports, loaded with an enormous number of men and supplies. We put ashore 400,000 men. The Germans didn’t stand a chance.”

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Magee honored for 50 years of service with Erieville Fire Department

The Nelson Town Board last week honored Erieville firefighter Bob Magee for his milestone of 50 years of service with the Erieville Fire Department, and presented him a plaque in commemoration of the achievement.

Town board hears earful on proposed noise ordinance and special events laws

One month after the Cazenovia Town Board officially proposed new town laws to prevent and control excessive noise and to establish procedures and requirements to hold special events, numerous town residents and business owners attended a public hearing to voice their concerns and criticisms of the potential actions.

Sour grapes: Owera Vineyards appeals codes officer decision denying scheduled event to zoning board

After a quiet spring, the controversy between Owera Vineyards and the town of Cazenovia over the winery’s allowed operating procedures has reared up again — this time in the form of an appeal to the town zoning board of appeals over a recent decision by the town codes enforcement officer denying Owera’s plans for a June 10 event. The winery is repeating its previous claim that its three-season events tent is an indoor, not an outdoor, structure as the town claims, and is offering a new argument that its hours of operation as approved under its original site plan approval are not enforceable by the town.

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New Canastota brewery mixes local ingredients with local history

Erie Canal Brewing Company is the only local brewery to use 100 percent Madison County ingredients

In the 19th century, hops were the staple crop of Central New York; and Madison County was actually known as the “Hops Capital of the United States.” Prohibition, plus a killer hops fungus, decimated the county’s agricultural pride — but in recent years beer-making has made a comeback in CNY in general, and in Madison County in particular. Under state law, for a brewery to be deemed made in New York 20 percent of the hops and 20 percent of all other ingredients must be grown or produced within the state. There is a new brewery in Canastota, however, that not only gets most of its ingredients from a farm in Chittenango, but is the only brewery around that boasts a beer made from ingredients 100 percent grown in Madison County — Erie Canal Brewing Company.

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Village election to be held June 17

Trustees, village justice and firefighter retirement program proposition on ballot

In less than one week, Cazenovia village residents will go to the polls to elect — or, more correctly, to reelect — two members of the village board of trustees and the village justice. Voters also will decide whether to accept or reject a ballot proposition that would allow the village to create a retirement benefit program for village volunteer firefighters. The only uncertain outcome on the ballot is the proposition, since the candidates for trustee and justice — all incumbents — all are running unopposed.

Village board begins work on possible Riverside Drive redevelopment plan

The village board last week took its first official step to attempt to redevelop — once again — the currently vacant municipal land on Riverside Drive behind the Cazenovia Public Library by tasking the village’s professional planner to create a development plan and detailed map of the area.

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Village board braced by extensive opposition to Ledyard Avenue ‘Western Gateway’ rezoning proposal

The mayor and village trustees received an earful of resident concern and opposition last week regarding a village proposal to rezone the Ledyard Avenue/Route 20 entrance corridor into the village — what the board is calling the “Western Gateway” — as a way to promote economic development as well as to maintain the appearance and historical integrity of the grand homes on the road. Calling it an ill-conceived and under-developed plan that could turn the spacious residential corridor into a village-soul-killing commercial strip, neighbors questioned numerous aspects of the proposed law, including the allowed commercial uses in the new zoning district, the availability and aesthetics of parking, the danger to the existing historic homes, the benefits and potential spot zoning for the owner of The Brewster Inn and even the way in which the village notified the neighbors of the proposed zone change.

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Demolished: Farnham Street house removed to create fire department parking lot

Village spends $42,000 for action deemed necessary for resident safety and community aesthetic

A property that has been deemed a significant eyesore and potential public health hazard was removed from the village of Cazenovia last week when the derelict house at 6 Farnham St. was demolished and a gravel parking lot for Cazenovia Fire Department members put in its place.

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Google Street View photographers capture Cazenovia in high resolution

Some people would say being named the second-coolest small town in America this year has helped put Cazenovia on the map — and now that map will show high-resolution street view images of Cazenovia’s main streets and some businesses. This is because a Google Trusted Photographer team was in Cazenovia last week to photograph streets, sidewalks and storefronts for Google Maps’ “Street View” application — and the team will be back this week to photograph the insides of local businesses if owners request the job.

Cazenovia district may fail to meet state math test participation number requirement

High number of opt outs may cause district to submit ‘improvement plan’ to state education department

In 2013, 100 percent of Cazenovia students participated in the state-mandated English Language Arts and Math tests for grades 3 through 8. This year, many parents chose to “opt out” their children from the tests and, in Math at least, the lower participation may have caused Cazenovia to fail to meet the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress requirements, Superintendent Bob Dubik told the board of education last week.

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Let them eat bread

Rise bread makers a hit in Cazenovia

Jasmeen Barnes, owner of Rise bread makers, simply cannot keep her bread in stock at the weekly Cazenovia Farmers Market. There have been two markets so far this season, and the shelves of Rise bread were bare within an hour at both. “That’s a pretty cool feeling,” said Barnes — especially since her business idea sprouted last fall, recipes were perfected during the winter, her baking facility was only finalized a few weeks ago and the May 10 farmers market was her first commercial outing.

Second rape reported at Cazenovia College in nine days

Cazenovia village police are investigating the second alleged rape in nine days that reportedly occurred inside a dormitory at Cazenovia College this week.

Town board introduces noise ordinance, special events law

Proposed laws a product of 2013 controversy between Owera Vineyards and East Lake Road neighbors

After months of work, the Cazenovia Town Board last week proposed two new local laws designed to maintain the public health, safety and welfare in the municipality — one to prevent and control excessive noise and one to establish procedures and requirements to hold special events. The impetus to create the two proposed laws arose from the controversy between Owera Vineyards and its East Lake Road neighbors last summer due to the winery’s summer events — about which the neighbors complained of excessive amplified music, among other things, and Owera received violation citations from the town.

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In profile: Cazenovia Board of Education election candidates

The 2014 Cazenovia Board of Education election on Tuesday, May 20, will have three candidates vying for two seats on the board. Incumbents Leigh Baldwin and Jan Woodworth are both seeking reelection to second terms, while challenger Abby Hartwell is seeking a first term. The candidates gave personal and background information to the school district public information officer for use in the district’s “Blue and Gold” newsletter, and answered questions from the Cazenovia Republican concerning educational issues, priorities and philosophy.

Nelson residents concerned over town road conditions

The Nelson Town Board meeting last Thursday was almost a quick and simple affair with only basic town business and councilor reports being discussed — until it turned into a rather lengthy and at times heated discussion of the state of repair — or disrepair — of some of the town’s roads.

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Fireman of the Year: Caz VFD, CAVAC receive highest award for Charlie Thompson rescue

Last October, the Cazenovia Volunteer Fire Department and the Cazenovia Area Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CAVAC) responded to one of the most difficult calls they had ever faced — the rescue of 10-year-old community member Charlie Thompson after he fell down an 18-foot-deep well. The indefatigable efforts of members of both organizations that night seven months ago saved Charlie’s life. Last week, in recognition of their feat, the entire companies of both CVFD and CAVAC jointly received the highest honor bestowed by the Madison County Volunteer Firemen’s Association — the Fireman of the Year award.

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Zone change request for Chenango Street office building suspended

Burrell asks to wait and be included in larger Chittenango Creek corridor plan later this year

Eric Burrell, the owner of the office building at 4 Chenango St. which has been the center of attention for his request for a zone change in order to bring the restaurant Circa to his property, has suspended his zone change request in order to be a part of a larger village planning process later in the year, Burrell’s attorneys wrote in a letter to the mayor and the chair of the village planning board on Friday, May 9.

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Member of fraud ring arrested in Cazenovia

Morrisville College student believed to have ties to NYC-based bank fraud group

A 19-year-old Morrisville College student was sent to the Madison County Jail this week for his alleged part in stealing thousands of dollars from a local bank account using a stolen ATM card and multiple fraudulent checks. The investigation of a second local suspect, also believed by police to be a Morrisville College student, is ongoing, and the case is believed by police to be connected to a larger fraud enterprise that spans across the state with the ringleader believed to be based in New York City.

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Cazenovia Farmers Market to increase in vendor variety, quantity in 2014

This Saturday marks the start of the 2014 Cazenovia Farmers market season, and patrons will have a wider variety of artisans and farmers to choose from than in previous years — including a number of vendors new to the Cazenovia market.

Police investigating reported rape at Cazenovia College

A female student at Cazenovia College was allegedly raped last weekend in the college dorms by a male classmate. The reported incident is currently under investigation by Cazenovia Village Police and Cazenovia College Campus Safety/Security, said Cazenovia Police Chief Michael Hayes.

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No Chenango Street location for Circa

Burrell withdraws zone change request due to neighbor pressure

There will be no new Circa restaurant location at Eric Burrell’s building at 4 Chenango St. — and maybe not even an extension of his office space to grow his business if his neighbors have their way. Burrell has withdrawn his application to the village for a requested zone change for his office building in order to build an extension and house the popular local restaurant that needs a new location, it was announced at the May 5 meeting of the village board.

Town Board purchases weed harvester for lake, moves forward on chemical treatment plan

The Cazenovia Town Board continues moving forward with its plans to fight milfoil and other invasive species in Cazenovia Lake and recently authorized the purchase of a weed harvester and conveyor, revised the benthic mat rental program and scheduled special meetings to discuss chemical treatment of the lake with the weed killer Renovate.

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Local library operational funding proposition included in May 20 election

On Tuesday, May 20, Cazenovia Central School District residents will go to the polls to either approve or reject the district’s proposed $26.5 million budget, as well as to select two of the three candidates running for seats on the school board. While these are the marquis items that will be on the ballot, there will also be included a lesser-known proposition – although not less important to many community members – that approves or rejects nearly $550,000 in operational funding for both the Cazenovia Public Library and the New Woodstock Free Library.

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